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 Carter's bomb wins it for WC
Warriors down perennial power Driscoll
 
 
 
By Jerry Fitzpatrick: 4/24/2008 12:17 AM
The Westminster Christian baseball team reached the Class A Elite Eight last season in the program's sixth varsity season, yet the Warriors remain on a mission to earn the respect of programs statewide.

"The kids want to prove that we're not only the best team in Class 1A but that we're the best team in 1 or 2A," Warriors coach Jeff Moeller said.

Wednesday's 10-8 victory over Driscoll, a Class 2A school and a three-time Class A state champion that placed third as recently as 2006, was a big step in that direction.

The Warriors (15-3) won their 13th straight game in thrilling fashion when catcher Carter Ward crushed a 2-run, walk-off home run over the fence in left field against reliever Anthony Campanella in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Westminster Christian the victory in Elgin.

Ward basically called his shot.

While standing in the on-deck circle, the .440 hitter told teammate Brandon Siewert, who stood at the lip of the dugout, that he was going to win the game in his at-bat.

"We were playing with a purpose and I just felt it," Ward said.

Ward's blast of a 1-1 pitch, his third home run of the season and the Warriors' 15th, made a winner of left-handed starting pitcher Ben Palmer (4-1) and capped a topsy-turvy game that featured four lead changes.

Of most concern for Driscoll (12-4) was its inability to protect a 4-run lead in the sixth inning due to a pair of defensive lapses.

Driscoll starting pitcher David Schwabe had given up 3 runs on a third-inning home run by Westminster's Siewert, but Schwabe had otherwise retired the Warriors in order using just a fastball and a changeup.

That changed in the sixth inning when Ward led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error at shortstop. After a run-scoring double by Ryan Donahue, No. 9 hitter Ted Grossman stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two away.

Grossman hit a tailing flyball to right field, which the Driscoll right fielder lost in the sun, then found. But he stumbled as he ran toward the foul line and the ball fell fair for a 3-run double, giving Westminster the lead, 8-7.

"We just didn't do a good job in that sixth inning defensively and it made a huge difference in the game," Driscoll coach Sean Bieterman said. "We take command with a 4-run lead late and had an opportunity to close the door.

"Of the four games we've lost, we've lost three of them after leading in the sixth inning. It's a disturbing trend."

Said Grossman of his clutch hit: "(Schwabe) was throwing a lot harder than it looked, so I just waited and took it to right."

Down to its last out in the seventh, Driscoll tied the game with an unearned run off Palmer. Campanella, pinch hitting, drove in Elgin resident Kyle Sanders with a single to right field. Sanders had reached on an error at first base.